The Professional Convention Management Association has teamed up with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide to offer a program that allows PCMA members to use Starwood Preferred Planner and Starwood Preferred Guest award points, or Starpoints, toward the purchase of PCMA offerings, including meeting registrations.

Beginning this month, PCMA members can redeem their Starpoints for gift certificates, which can be used to pay for PCMA membership dues, registration fees to PCMA’s annual meeting, PCMA’s CMP Online Prep Course, webinars, PCMA Online Learning Center access, educational offerings, and more. Members can redeem 2,800 Starpoints for a $25 PCMA gift certificate and 9,500 points for a $100 gift certificate.

“More than ever, it’s important to make professional development more widely accessible within our industry. By allowing meeting planners’ Starpoints to act like cash in a tight economy, Starwood and PCMA have truly created a win-win for both PCMA members and the entire meetings industry,” said Deborah Sexton, president and chief executive officer at PCMA, in a press release.

“Meetings and incentives are a critical component to economic recovery, and we are proud to offer our professionals added value for their Starpoints with PCMA and show our continued support of the meetings industry and our valued partners,” added Christie Hicks, senior vice president of global sales at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, in a press release.

Starpoints can be redeemed for gift certificates by calling Starwood at (888) 625-4988 or online later this summer. Starpoint certificates can be applied to all or a portion of a PCMA product, service, or event fee at the time of purchase by calling PCMA’s membership department at (877) 827-7622.

In recent years, PCMA and Starwood have partnered on two other innovative initiatives. Last year, Starwood sponsored PCMA’s “Soundview” project, which provides PCMA members with book summaries of leading business books. Two years ago, Starwood worked with PCMA to offer the MeetingMetrics meetings measurement system to association members.